The Waterfalls

Visiting a waterfall, especially on a hot sultry
day, can be a favorite way to spend a day. You get in your
car, drive for miles, then get out and walk the remainder of
the way to a waterfall. Civilization has cleared and marked
a pathway for you and the many thousands like you that
have also come to enjoy these named landmarks. Rarely
do you get to enjoy the natural beauty of one by just
stepping out into your own backyard. Behind my house,
barely noticeable, is a trail leading through the woods to a
waterfall. The trail is narrow but well worn. Any shrubbery
that would have grown has been trampled down and all
that is left is a very narrow path, overhung with branches
from the trees that mark its sides. As I start down the trail,
I begin to feel the trees closing around me until the house
can no longer be seen. I follow the trail to where it stops at
the creek\'s edge, approaching quietly so as not to disturb
any of the wild creatures that has come to enjoy the cool
fresh water. I gently cross over the creek using the stones,
which show the wear of several previous crossing, so that I
can have full view of the creek and the beauty it possesses.
I can hear the rush of the water long before I see the falls.
As I sit down on the big gray slate rock that has been
warmed by the early morning sun, I begin to gulp in the
beauty as a starving man would gulp down food. I start my
usual ritual of examining the banks of the creek by gazing
down the right side of it first. I notice that the wild azaleas
are in full bloom and that the trees have regained all their
leaves. They stand tall and majestic as if they are soldiers
standing guard. My gaze travels up one of the trees to find
two squirrels chattering down at me as if to say "Go away
and leave us in peace." Further down starts the gentle bend
that takes the remainder of the creek from my view. My
gaze shifts to the left side of the bank and there lies an old
oak tree that has fallen long ago. It still lies partially upon its
stump so that it looks like the shape of an "L". Two ducks
are using it for a resting perch. I continue my perusal up the
bank to the dogwood trees. Their beauty is awesome.
Their branches, filled with ivory white blossoms, stretch
across the creek as if trying to touch the other side. They
remind me of an archway, waiting for someone to walk
beneath them. Standing alongside the bank is a beautiful
doe with her newborn fawn. She flicks her ears and raises
her nose to the air as if to catch my scent. I do not move
hoping that she will stay just a bit longer. After she dashes
away, my eyes continue their assault of the banks. Slowly it
comes into focus, the thing that has drawn me here day
after day. The waterfall! As I gaze at it, I can feel the
coolness and the power of the water as it rushes over the
rocks and into the pool ten feet below. I lay back on my
rock and see that the trees have opened their leaves to
allow me a view of the sky. The sky is an azure blue with
white pillowy clouds. I close my eyes and listen to the
sound of the waterfall and let it lure me into that nowhere
land that makes me feel as if I totally alone, the lone
survivor on this planet. My mind goes oblivious to
everything except for the rushing sound of the water.
Slowly other sounds begin to filter through. I hear the birds
singing, the squirrels still chattering away as I continue to lie
there totally at peace with myself. It seems as if only
seconds have passed but I know that it must be hours
because I can no longer feel the warmth of the sun. Slowly
I rise, knowing that I must start heading back to the house.
I take one last long look and I begin to wonder, as I have
so many times before, will it be here when I come back
again? Will the wild animals allow me to share the waterfall,
the creek and the beauty of it all again with them? I
certainly hope so because I can think of